Saying of the Week: This Batch of People Is No Good

The  comes from the Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens or encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around censorship and political correctness.

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This batch of people is no good

zhè jiè rénmín bùxíng 这届人民不行

2,799 comments on Xi Hua's essay. All but 53 were later deleted. (Source: Weibo)

2,799 comments on Xi Hua’s essay. All but 53 were later deleted. (Source: Weibo)

The people are to blame for corruption and other social ills; sarcastic reaction to People’s Daily opinion piece from spring 2016.

On March 24, 2016, National Railway Administration inspection chief Xi Hua published an essay about the central government’s anti-corruption campaign in the People’s Daily titled “We Are All ‘One Part’ of the Current Mood” (我们都是风气“一分子”), emphasizing the role of the individual in the fight against bribery and corruption. “Everyone must consider their personal responsibility. Everyone must undertake a revolution of the self” (人人要思考自己的责任,人人要进行自我革命), Xi wrote. He had previously said that morality can only go so far, and that systemic, administrative solutions are needed for society to function ethically.

Netizens took Xi Hua’s self-contradictory advice in the People’s Daily as a total shifting of blame from the government to the individual. They snidely remarked on Weibo that “this batch of people is no good.” Xi Hua never once wrote these words, but the phrase proliferated in the comment thread of the People’s Daily Weibo post sharing his essay:

Zhuroufanzizaiduorou (@猪肉贩子在剁肉): This batch of people is no good. They don’t listen. They’ve pulled a lot of cadres under and dragged this administration down. They’ve lost face for the country!

这届人民不行,很不听话,拉了很多领导干部下水,拖本届政府的后腿,给国家丢脸了!

Zuomoxiansheng (@琢磨先生): This batch of people is unfit for this batch of leaders, is that what you mean?

这届人民配不上这届领导,是这个意思吗?

LuoChangping (@罗昌平): There’s a saying that stands out among the comments: “This batch of people is no good!”

评论里有句话出现频率很高:“这届人民不行!” [Chinese]

At one point, nearly 3,000 comments were left on the People’s Daily Weibo post. Many of them were later deleted, leaving 53 benign remarks.

The quip has been spotted beyond the Weibo thread where it began, used to lament broader political, even economic, shortcomings:

Laodongchuangzaoyiqie2012 (@劳动创造一切2012): A popular online joke: Such wise leaders + such a bad economy = this batch of people are no good. (March 29, 2016)

网上流行调侃:领导这么英明+经济这么不好=这届人民不行。 [Chinese]

Xi Hua has stirred controversy before. In 2015, he published “The Question of ‘Naked Official’ Prince Qing’s Style” (大清“裸官”庆亲王的作风问题) on the website of the Central Discipline and Inspection Commission. Netizens took Xi’s criticism of the 19th-century royal as an allegorical indictment of former vice president Zeng Qinghong.

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